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Comments

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'The Door Problem' of Game Design

DrXym What door problem? (295 comments)

The majority of games in existence nails doors and windows shut. Without bothering to justify why they're shut, or by throwing in a generic "door is locked" animation when the character tries to open them, or by stacking up debris / chairs against the door to justify why it can't be opened. First person shooters are the lamest at doing this - Call of Duty etc. where a heavily armed, fit man can't even knock a pane of glass in or kick / shoot a door open or climb over a modest obstacle. Why? Because fuck you for asking that's why.

More likely it's because their lame engine or AI cannot cope with a dynamic environment properly, or their collision detection / physics get all confused by someone shooting through a door or window, or simply because they can't be bothered to make it work properly.

I don't see it as the problem of a new designer to solve, so much as the entire industry, particularly those who produce tools & middleware for physics, collisions and destructible environments. If the likes of Unreal Engine allows a building to collapse or take damage (e.g. a tank putting a hole in a wall) or to kick open a door then it is likely that many games would make use of that.

2 days ago
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Bill Gates Patents Detecting, Responding To "Glassholes"

DrXym Sounds like baloney (140 comments)

How can they possibly detect a camera in all or even most circumstances without getting a bunch of false positives? The whole patent reads like a bunch of speculative, base covering horseshit to be honest.

about a week ago
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Steam's Most Popular Games

DrXym This really isn't a shock (117 comments)

Stuff like Day of Defeat would often appear on free weekend demos. It's hardly surprising that people kicked off a download and never got around to playing it. Same for other titles which are multiplayer modes, tech demos and so forth. I also expect the likes of Humble Bundle has meant people have gotten download codes for games they've redeemed but never bothered to run. I know I've a few games in my list which are like that.

about a week ago
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Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

DrXym Hardly surprising (817 comments)

It's virtually impossible to reach high office without being a millionaire or being bankrolled by a millionaire and other rich interest groups. It's virtually impossible to reach high office without belonging to one of two political parties. Is it any wonder at all that democracy has been corrupted?

It would be nice to see some practical proposals that could be implemented to remedy this.

about a week ago
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Ubisoft Hands Out Nexus 7 Tablets At a Game's Press Event

DrXym Re:Because nobody wanted the crummy battery life?? (43 comments)

The 4 is made by LG, the 7 by ASUS and the 10 by Samsung. So aside from the software they run, they could all be wildly different in their performance characteristics. Of the three I think ASUS is the one which I would trust the least with its quality control and parts.

about a week ago
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Ubisoft Hands Out Nexus 7 Tablets At a Game's Press Event

DrXym This isn't a new practice (43 comments)

It might be an overt bribe but the entire games industry runs on greasing the palms of journalists. Those "exclusive" previews and reviews. That expenses-paid trip to Rockstar / Konami / whoever's HQ to see work in progress. That expensive invitation-only junket at the games show. The mountain of crap like t-shirts, posters, backpacks, figurines, pens etc. that are sent out. The lucrative advertising campaign which just so happens to run the same as the review goes out.

Woe betide any outfit which angers a games publisher. All that free shit, exclusives and the advertising will be pulled in an instant. The journo and the site will be blackballed and will have to wait outside the tent like everyone else.

Which is why people with an ounce of sense and self restraint wait for a game to be released and for a general concensus to form before making a purchase. Don't believe exclusive reviews, don't believe some bloggers pants wetting hyperbole after their all expenses paid jolly, don't trust a site which is festooned with ads for the game being reviewed. If a game is THAT GOOD, then it'll still be THAT GOOD a week or two down the line.

about a week ago
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Microsoft Confirms It Is Dropping Windows 8.1 Support

DrXym Re:I can understand this (575 comments)

I run Windows. I run Linux. I don't really care what the OS is providing I can do the things I want to do with it.

about two weeks ago
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Microsoft Confirms It Is Dropping Windows 8.1 Support

DrXym Re:I can understand this (575 comments)

It is supported - upgrade to SR1 when Windows Update tells you. The update from 8.0 to 8.1 was WAY more traumatic.

about two weeks ago
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Microsoft Confirms It Is Dropping Windows 8.1 Support

DrXym Re:Bullet, meet foot (575 comments)

Faster boot times for one thing. Better task manager. Better file move & copy. Lots of little improvements all over the shop.

about two weeks ago
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Microsoft Confirms It Is Dropping Windows 8.1 Support

DrXym Re:Bullet, meet foot (575 comments)

Windows 8.x is stable and in many regards is better than Windows 7. It's just that stupid metro front end which scuppers the experience and consequently people hate on it.

8.1 and the SR1 makes it just about tolerable but the most glaring omission is still the lack of a start menu. They could and should have a mini-metro popup that offers functionality analogous to the old start menu. Rumours suggest that one is being worked on but its not in this release.

about two weeks ago
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This 1981 BYTE Magazine Cover Explains Why We're So Bad At Tech Predictions

DrXym Re:It was a "joke" back then (275 comments)

Some buildings do have slides

about two weeks ago
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This 1981 BYTE Magazine Cover Explains Why We're So Bad At Tech Predictions

DrXym Clearly a joke (275 comments)

It's pretty obvious that it was a visual joke rather than a serious representation of a computer on a wrist. Anyway no smart watch has managed to sell well so it's not like what we call a smart watch today is what people want either.

about two weeks ago
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Microsoft Confirms It Is Dropping Windows 8.1 Support

DrXym I can understand this (575 comments)

8.1 has received a substantial service release that fixes bugs and enhances the UI (slightly). Why should they support the older version any more? That doesn't excuse them from ensuring the upgrade process is smooth and trouble free but I understand why they are doing this.

about two weeks ago
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Anyone Can Buy Google Glass April 15

DrXym Re:And there was much rejoicing (167 comments)

Yes glass is potentially useful for certain roles e.g. order fulfilment in a warehouse (meaning someone can have both hands free), or your remote learning. But as a general purpose device, it is lacking any reason for existing. So I can take a picture or do a search without taking a phone out of my pocket? So what? Instead I have to talk issuing instructions to it like some crazy person to make it work. Worse than that, it invites open hostility from people it is pointed at who quite reasonably wonder if I am taking a picture of them, or if my attention is on them or the screen in front of my eye.

It reminds me of Segways and bluetooth headsets. Some technologies simply rub people up the wrong way. They might find themselves a niche to exist in but they're very unlikely to ever enjoy public acceptance.

about two weeks ago
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Australia Declares Homeopathy Nonsense, Urges Doctors to Inform Patients

DrXym Re:So just ban it already (408 comments)

The problem is educated people are not the customers of quacks. It's the uneducated, the paranoid, the gullible and sometimes the desperate. Cut the quacks off from these people (and their money) and the practice will diminish. The simple way to do that is to ban how these products and services are sold.

For example look how many health insurance plans cover quack treatment. There is no reason this should be permitted by law, at least in countries with a sane health system. If an insurer wants to offer "wellness" cover, then it should be with recognized health clinic where registered practitioners (nurses, dieticians etc.) can treat people and make proper referrals if necessary.

about two weeks ago
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Australia Declares Homeopathy Nonsense, Urges Doctors to Inform Patients

DrXym Re:It's cost effective (408 comments)

I don't consider that a very good argument for keeping quacks around.

about two weeks ago
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Australia Declares Homeopathy Nonsense, Urges Doctors to Inform Patients

DrXym So just ban it already (408 comments)

If it's nonsense (it is), and it makes health claims (it does), and it doesn't work (it doesn't work), just ban the sale and promotion of such products or severely restrict its sale, health insurance coverage, and the people who practice this form of "treatment". Same goes for chiro, accupuncture, and other common forms of quackery.

about two weeks ago
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Apple: Dumb As a Patent Trolling Fox On iPhone Prior Art?

DrXym Slide to unlock is such an obvious metaphor (408 comments)

Physical devices slide to unlock. It is no leap of the imagination to virtualize the action.

What's interesting is how other handsets have been forced to circumvent the patent. Samsung currently uses a screen image and lets the user slide any direction to be rewarded with a sparkly effect & noise to unlock. Vanilla Android allows users to draw a dot from the center of the screen to the perimeter of a circle to unlock. Windows Phone (and GNOME 3) have a weighted screen saver which must dragged up to remove it.

So in a sense devices have innovated to circumvent a stupid patent, but the patent shouldn't have been granted in the first place.

about two weeks ago
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Elite Violinists Can't Distinguish Between a Stradivarius and a Modern Violin

DrXym Re:History Effect (469 comments)

A Stradivarius would still have value for its age and rarity. Doesn't mean they are best sounding instruments in the world and there is no reason to suppose they are either.

about two weeks ago
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Russian GLONASS Down For 12 Hours

DrXym Re:Warning Shot (148 comments)

And presumably missiles are designed to failover to other forms of navigation if the GPS is being disrupted or at odds with other navigational hints the missile might be programmed with such as terrain contours.

about three weeks ago

Submissions

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GNOME Shell extensions are live

DrXym DrXym writes  |  more than 2 years ago

DrXym (126579) writes "GNOME Shell has been criticized for certain shortcomings when compared to GNOME 2.x. Chief amongst them was that 2.x offered panel applets whereas 3.x is seemingly lacking any such functionality. What most people don't know is that GNOME Shell has a rich extension framework similar to Mozilla Firefox add-ons and the official site to install extensions has gone live. So if you yearn for an application menu, or a dock, or a status monitor then head on over. Extensions can be installed with a few clicks and removed just as easily.

Someone should offer a prize to the first extension that implements Unity and global menus over GNOME Shell. Perhaps it would convince Ubuntu to switch over and end this spat once and for all."

Link to Original Source
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Warner going Blu Ray exclusive

DrXym DrXym writes  |  more than 6 years ago

DrXym (126579) writes "Engadget are reporting that Warner is going to go Blu-Ray exclusive. Even though I am a Blu-Ray supporter myself this announcement is shocking since it could easily have gone the other way. It drives a stake into the heart of the HD DVD camp and might mean at last that an end is in sight for HD physical format war."
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SCO stock takes a dump

DrXym DrXym writes  |  more than 6 years ago

DrXym (126579) writes "The SCO ball of twine keeps unravelling. Following the total disintegration of their legal case on Friday, SCO's stock took a pounding today falling a whopping 70%. That puts SCOX well and truly into NASDAQ delisting territory, assuming they last the 120 days required to be removed. So long SCO, we hardly knew ye."
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DrXym DrXym writes  |  more than 7 years ago

DrXym (126579) writes "Remember that stuff about the PS3 supporting Linux? Well it's true as as this press release from Yellow Dog Linux shows. PS3 owners will be able to install Yellow Dog Linux 5.0 which includes standard Linux apps such as Firefox 1.5.0, OpenOffice 2.0 as standard. Interestingly it also includes a Cell SDK and Enlightenment E17 for the desktop experience. What remains to be seen is whether it plays nice alongside your ability to play games, download stuff, watch movies etc. or is it an all or nothing affair?"

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